Tunnel Vision in Reading

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Reading involves translating symbols and letters into words or sentences. Anderson defines reading as a process of constructing meaning from a written text. We indulge in reading for many different purposes, be it survival, leisure or occupational. In a way, reading serves as a kind communication between the writer and the reader. The writer encodes what he or she wishes to convey while the reader decodes according to his or her own perception. Johnson quotes "A young man should read five hours in a day, and so may acquire a great deal of knowledge."

However, there as several problems which hinders the reading process, one of them being ‘tunnel vision'. This is a condition experienced by most readers especially beginners. This is because they lack ‘non visual information' when trying to digest certain texts. Non visual information is what is stored in the brain, prior knowledge or specific information which will enable the brain to associate with whatever is received through the eyes thus bringing comprehension to the reader's mind when reading a text. The inability of the brain to use this information due the over-load of visual information, will cause it to take more time to make decisions on what are seen. For example, a student unfamiliar with certain words in a purposely distorted text may have to take a few seconds longer to recognize them rather than familiar words which only require a single glance.

Tunnel vision also occurs when readers are asked to read texts that are written in a language they do not know or a writing system they can't discern. As there is no non-visual information what so ever in that particular language and writing system, they will not be able to read the text, let alone understand it. For example, a Malay student will have a serious problem if requested to read a passage in Russian!

There are also cases when texts written in readers' first language fails to enlightened them. This is because...
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